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No. 17 Penn State Women’s Soccer Dominates Illinois 5-0

No. 17 Penn State women’s soccer (7-1-2, 2-0-1 Big Ten) rolled over Illinois (6-4-1, 1-2 Big Ten) 5-0 on Sunday afternoon at Jeffrey Field.

Penelope Hocking opened up the scoring in the first minute and then the Nittany Lions didn’t slow down to celebrate senior day. Freshman Olivia Smith tallied her first career goal and center defender Jillian Jennings also grabbed her first goal with the Nittany Lions. Hocking and Kaitlyn Macbean each notched one more goal for good measure and closed out the game at 5-0.

Katherine Asman and Morgan Messner combined to keep Penn State’s Big Ten sheet clean and allowed zero goals against the Illini.

How It Happened

Head coach Erica Dambach rolled out a familiar, senior-heavy lineup against the Illini.

Not even one minute into the match, center-back Cassie Hiatt connected a long, switching ball with Amelia White, and the freshman beat two Illinois defenders down the right flank. White crossed a low-driven ball toward the six-yard line, and Hocking buried the ball into the back of the net to secure a 1-0 lead in the first minute of play.

In the 15th minute, Penn State nearly recreated its first goal when Cori Dyke sent Payton Linnehan on a breakaway down the right side of the field.

Linnehan crossed a pass into the penalty box from the right wing, and both Ally Schlegel and Natalie Wilson had the opportunity to convert. The Illinois defense read the play better than the first time and prevented the two Nittany Lions from sneaking in a second goal.

Dyke and Linnehan combined for another goal-scoring opportunity in the 20th minute, but Linnehan’s attempt went wide.

Macbean tallied Penn State’s fifth shot of the afternoon, but her bid went right into Illinois goalkeeper Julia Cili’s hands.

Dyke endured a head collision in the 31st minute and required nearly three minutes of medical attention. She walked off under her own power and received concussion protocol care on the sideline. Dyke re-entered the game two minutes later.

Illinois tallied its first shot of the game in the 36th minute. Sydney Stephens sent a slow shot toward Asman, and the goalkeeper easily scooped up the attempt.

Freshman Smith notched her first career goal in the 36th minute to earn a 2-0 lead over the Illini. Linnehan worked hard to get a cross off from the right wing, and Smith was in the right spot to redirect the cross into Cili’s net.

In the 44th minute, Penn State cashed in on a set play opportunity when captain and center defender Jennings scored off of a corner kick. Macbean settled the corner kick and assisted Jennings on her first career goal with the Nittany Lions on senior day.

Penn State went into the locker room leading by three at halftime after it controlled the play for the first 45 minutes.

Illinois opened up the second half with some energy. Abby Lynch notched the Illini’s third shot of the game in the 52nd minute. Lynch’s attempt hit the crossbar of Asman’s net and deflected out of bounds.

Hocking earned her second goal of the game in 57th minute. The transfer took the ball herself from coast to coast and sent a blazing shot past Cili’s reach to make it 4-0 in favor of Penn State.

Dambach subbed out goalkeeper Asman in the 65th minute for backup Messner. The Nittany Lions’ Illinois match was the first time Messner saw minutes since their game against Duquesne on August 21.

Penn State earned three consecutive corner kicks in the last 15 minutes of the game. The team didn’t slow down and maintained its pressure on Cili in the net.

Finally, Macbean scored the Nittany Lions’ fifth goal in the 89th minute from an assist by Natalie Wilson. Along with Smith and Jennings, Macbean scored her first career goal for Penn State.

Illinois never managed to make anything happen offensively against the Nittany Lions and Penn State took the game 5-0 on senior day.

Takeaways:

  • Penn State came to play on senior day. Jillian Jennings scored her first goal for the Nittany Lions and second career goal following her transfer from Boston College. Have a day, Jillian.
  • The Nittany Lions’ defense was untouchable. Illinois only managed to tally one shot in the first half and seven overall shots in contrast to Penn State’s 22 shots. Cassie Hiatt and Mieke Schiemann work so well together in the defensive line and control the backfield with confidence.
  • Three Nittany Lions scoring their first career goals against Illinois? Sick.
  • Penn State will likely be tested against Michigan State on September 29. The Spartans have a similar record to the Nittany Lions and their only loss was against a ranked Arkansas squad. Erica Dambach’s only loss this season was similarly against then-No. 12 Stanford, so this is sure to be a competitive match.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will close out their three-game home stretch at 7 p.m. on Thursday, September 29, against Michigan State at Jeffrey Field.

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About the Author

Keeley Lamm

Keeley is a sophomore journalism major from Richmond, Virginia, and is one of Onward State's associate editors. She also talks about random, fun stuff on our podcast, Podward State. Keeley is a lover of grilled cheese, naps, and Kevin Jonas. If you would like to share your thoughts on the superior Jonas Brother, feel free to contact her on Twitter @lammkeeley or send your best Spotify playlist to her email [email protected]

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